Carpe Aeternum

Finding the Eternal in the Every Day

Archive for the tag “breathe”

Every Breath a Prayer

I have been exploring meditation. Trying to learn to slow myself down and do little more than just breathe a few minutes each morning. Most days, of the days that I do it, I can do about five to ten minutes before it becomes a struggle.. Occasionally I can last a little longer. And some days, I just can’t/won’t even start.

Sometimes this feels like when I was a kid trying to learn to hold my breath longer and longer so I could swim farther underwater.

The days that I meditate tend to go better than the days I don’t. The obvious value is physiological. I slow down my life a little. I slow down my breathing, which slows down my heart. It helps relieve my stress. Less stress, even if for only part of my day is a good thing. Doing this in the morning helps me prevent my stress levels from getting a good running start before my day really gets going. If I start worrying about work problems, or a crowded schedule or something I forgot to get done yesterday right as I get out of bed, then I will feel overwhelmed before I can do anything about resolving any of those problems.

And physiologically I don’t need that. I have enough health issues without compounding them with stress. Without creating new health issues born of stress.

But is it something miraculous about meditation? Perhaps. I do believe in the spiritual realm and the power of spiritual disciplines to make our lives better. I think that part of the value derives from the spiritual act in itself.

Richard Rohr talks about the importance of breathing in the spiritual realm. He explains that the unpronounceable name of God (YHWH) is traditionally expressed as the sounds we make as we breathe. The first syllable equates to an inhale and the second to exhaling. Thus every breath we take is calling upon the name of God. Literally, every breath is a prayer. Our lives depend on God so much that we are repeating his name over and over and over each day.

That means every breath is a cry for God’s mercy and compassion to keep me alive. It is then very much a quiet thanks for that incredible gift.

Scripture gives stories of God breathing into Adam, or the reconstructed bodies in the valley of dry bones. His breathe brings life. The Holy Spirit is referred to in terms of breath, of God or Jesus breathing on people and they receive the inflow of his presence.

The very word inspiration, to breathe in, also means to take in spirit.

For a few minutes everyday, I try to be aware that this is happening, to slow down, calm down and just breathe. In those brief moments I do find peace. I do feel closer to a God that I am calling to every few seconds and who responds to me each time. A conversation that continues when I am not aware of it, even continues as I sleep.

Take a deep breath now and enjoy knowing that you and God are connected.


Brad Bellmore Gets a Life – 13

A recent musical discovery for me is the song “39” by The Cure. Sure, it’s been around for awhile, I have even had it in my library for a few years, but it just never made it into my rotation. I have a lot of music by The Cure and I listen to my favorites all the time, rarely digging into the wealth of all they have to offer me. Finally, I played my full arsenal of The Cure and I discovered “39”.
This song could have been my theme song for the last few years. I love the lyrics about how everything in life used to be fuel for the fire that burned within. Everything fed the flames. That is/was true of me. There was a time when everything, good bad or everything that fell in between served as fuel to keep a massive fire burning inside my spirit. But, like the song, I am now in the place where the fire is almost out and there is nothing left to burn. All that happens around me, even the good, even the exciting, seem feeble fuel for such a fire.
And that hurts.
Breaking a vow is a terrible thing and it crushes us. That is part of the power of vows. It is easy to disregard them as mere words, but vows lock into our spirit. They can be horribly heavy to carry at times, but breaking them steals something form our souls. We are somehow less.
I have become a man I vowed I would never be. When the fire was raging and everything fed it, it was easy to believe I could never become this man. It was easy to despise others who were where I am now. The vow was such a tiny, tiny burden then.
But it almost feels like there are forces out there that attack vows. Forces that want to destroy us and destroy our spirits and they know the power of vows, so they use them against us.
That is part of why it feels so hard to get the fire going again. I shouldn’t be here. My soul has been injured in landing as awkwardly as I have in a place with so little fuel for a few dying embers. But I don’t want to stay here. I want to have that raging fire in me again. So, I nurture the little fire I have left. I feed it what fuel I can find and breathe all the life into it that I can.
I think I need the breath of God to give some serious life to these embers, like when god breathed on Adam and Eve and gave them life. Like when he breathed into the all the carcasses in the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel, bringing hem back to life. I think this might be the only way that the fire within me becomes a raging blaze again. I think that is the only way that everything in my life will become fuel for the fire again.

What’s so Funny?

We laughed so hard we couldn’t breathe. It was your typical giggle-fest where you get to the point where everything is hilarious and just increases the laughter. You cry. You try your best not to pee your pants. When it was finally over my ribs, my face, my throat and even the muscles in the back of my neck are sore from the ordeal.
This was a church meeting, mind you. A men’s gathering that was intended to be more serious, something to help us become more introspective and ultimately become better men, and understand how to live our faith more fully.
Instead, non stop, howling laughing.
This wasn’t one of those “holy” laughter things you hear about in some Pentecostal churches. This was good old fashioned funny stories from our lives.
We had an agenda for the meeting. We wanted to get to know each other better. Ultimately, the group is designed to help us grow spiritually and emotionally. Trust is crucial to that we spent time getting to know each other, setting the foundation for what is to come. We were asked to share something about ourselves that the others didn’t know.
I can’t share what we discussed. But when the first person to speak told us that he once was the quality control inspector at a breast pump factory, a few chuckles rolled out. Chuckles turned to guffaws and the night had a whole new agenda. Most of it sophomoric and gross. Enough so to pass for a meeting of sixth grade boys as we rattled off crazy story after crazy story that involved odd, embarrassing or even disgusting bathroom incidents.
By then, the laughter was far into the realm of unbridled. There was no way that it was coming back to something serious.
Later, as we were finally wrapping up, one of our number asked, “why can’t we have fun like this in church all the time?”
Which is a great question. Obviously, there are times when such humor is inappropriate. There are times when things need to be more serious; part our interaction with life as a church encompasses those bad, sad and even horrible times. Some things aren’t appropriate for certain audiences. But the truth of the matter is, we all have funny and embarrassing stories. They are part of life too. Why can’t they be part of Christian experience?
There are places where this kind of being real is good. Even important. There is a point when being goofy is necessary. I’ll even go so far as to say it’s holy.
The scriptures I read say that God found his creation good. Even the gross parts. Even the base parts. It’s the way he made it. Embrace it.

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